Shoppers have been out in force in Southend today as lockdown restrictions eased further. 

Photos taken this morning show queues have been building outside Primark and the Royals Shopping Centre/ Debenhams after non-essential shops were given the all clear to reopen today. 

Primark has announced it will be extending its opening times by two hours this week to allow customers to make up for lost time. 

The Debenhams store in Southend is meanwhile hosting a closing down sale and is only expected to be open for a just a couple of weeks. 

Among those heading back to the town centre today were Marilyn Swasborough, 72, and Yvonne Messa, 88. 

Marilyn said: "It's very nice to be back but very cold.

"It will be nice when we can sit inside again but it's lovely to see people again."


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Some people have braved the Primark queue to get what they wanted. 

Aimee Skinner and Chloe Storer spent around 45 mintues waiting to get inside. 


Aimee said: "It's been amazing. 

"We spent an hour in Primark. It's been nice being out and about and back to a sense of normality."

Eager shoppers made the most of the reopening sales. 

Students Callum Williams, 20, and Jacob Hollins, 22, found plenty of bargains during their shop today. 

Callum said: "Callum said: "I've got some great deals. It's great it's nice to see a lot of people again. 

"I don't feel concerned because we use the test centres quite a lot."


Jacob added: "It's quite weird to be honest considering the high street has been so dead and now it's bombarded with people. It's a bit scary but it's good to be out."

Punters have meanwhile been braving the chilly weather to enjoy a first post-lockdown pint.

Raymond Thorpe and Ian Colston are two such people who have got themselves a table at the Borough Hotel in Southend. 

Ian said: "It's fantastic, it's really nice to meet my friend again. 

"It's nice to be having a proper pint instead of one out of a can."


Raymond added: "Its lovely, it's 11 out of 10 and it's been a long time coming."